This one is for terribleminds flash fiction post based on a song title. This is “Liar” by The Cranberries.
“They haven’t stopped. Three weeks. No stop. It must be some sort of drill they’re using, a small augur. Oh, yep, there they are, small shavings of wood from the roof and no doubt bits of shingle are dusting through the air. Landing on my bed. I really can’t believe it, they’re still doing it. I tell you it’s hell and to top it off they deny it all.”
Mikel wiped the particles from his homework with the back of his left hand, looking up at the pinky-size hole. He squeezed the cell to his ear a little tighter, “I shouldn’t’a come back. Wait, give me a second.”
Mikel stood up on his fold-out army surplus cot, balanced on his tip-toes and pasted an orange sticky-note lined with tape just over the newly drilled hole.
“Are you there, good. I tell ya man, like I said, the worst part is that they deny it, they sit there in the morning, tired cuz, you know, they were up all night too. I know for sure I stabbed Jonas in the eye two days ago… What? … I used a pencil. I saw him in the morning with gauze and tape over his eye. If you can believe it I even apologized. Shouldn’t have but I did. He still denied it. Nope, he said it was an ‘infection.’ What kinda bullshit is that.”
Mikel adjusted the clamp-end of his lamp tightening it down to the heaved-on-its-side bedframe, sheets stapled to each end surrounding his cot.
“What do you think I said? I told them, I called them out on it last week… No, they haven’t drilled through the floor yet. I know it’s only a matter of time though. Wait, give me another second.”
He pulled the dark blue sheet to the side and peered at the far wall, riddled with new holes and old taped-over ones which were outnumbered two to one. Most of the holes were backlit by the incandescent bulb hanging in the adjoining laundry room. He looked at the small circles that were not lit from behind. The wood creaked under his sneakers as he feigned ignorance of the dark spots, rather staring up, somewhere in the corner of his room. With a sly jab he sent the sharpened No. 2 pencil lead-first into one of the dim holes. A howling scream followed. Once again all were backlit.
“Yea, everything is OK, I just stabbed one. I don’t know who, coulda been Mom, the scream kinda sounded feminine… Yea, of course they can hear me.” Mikel turned from the phone and shouted in no particular direction, “Can’t you, you fuckers. I don’t care that you’re listening!” He turned back to the phone. “Sorry, it’s just getting to me. Yea, I understand. Yea. Maybe I can find another place. Ok, Ok man. I’ll talk to you later, no it’s OK. Yea, homeroom, I’ll see you there.”
The phone beeped quiet leaving a deafening silence in Mikel’s room. The voice of his conversation rang in his ears. He scribbled some more into his notebook, words erased and rewritten several times over left a gray smudge below the title, “Shakespeare’s Hamlet: an essay for English II”. He fought his drowsiness with a slap on the cheek but his exhaustion took hold and dragged his eyelids closed. Lamp-on, he fell asleep with the red-stained pencil clutched between his fingers.
Breakfast with the family was terrifying in its failed attempt at normalcy. Mikel’s older brother Jonas stabbed several times at the too runny eggs that slipped and slid across his plate. The gauze taped eye was still affecting his depth perception. His father was hovering over the oven, flipping burners on and off, turning the bacon too quickly and altogether ignoring Mikel’s advice to leave it and sit at the table. The mother was wholly absent and the vague reason mumbled by Jonas to Mikel upon his asking was that she had to see her sister for an emergency. Mikel’s father mmhmm-ed in agreement with Jonas’ altogether ridiculous story.
“Is her eye OK?” Mikel asked, stomach fluttering though he expected their response.
“Nothing is wrong with her eye.” His father was quick to point out, still stirring the pan of bacon.
“Is that right? Well I’m pretty sure I stabbed it last night, and yours too,” Mikel looked at Jonas, “I stabbed yours, Jo, two days ago.” He looked at his brother who, for a worried moment searched in his goopy egg for an answer but ultimately laughed it off, “Yea, Mikel, you gave me an infection in my eye.” He forced a laugh directed at his father.
“Fuck right I did, and you’re going to get more if you keep drilling holes into my room and watching me at night.” Mikel tried to stare him down but he refused to look up.
“STOP IT WITH THE LANGUAGE!” The father turned around, red-faced and fuming. His left-eye was covered with gauze and tape. Smudges of blood threatened to pour from the center of the bandage.
“You too.” Mikel mumbled, “It was you last night. And Mom, where is Mom?” He stood up from the table.
“She’s with your aunt, we told you.” Jonas replied.
A thump was followed by the faint sound of power tools, the hum came from the basement door just behind Mikel.
“And what was that?” Mikel turned and jumped for the door.
“MIKEL NO!” he could hear his father shout. But they couldn’t catch him if they tried, he was already stomping down the dimly lit stairs. Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud. He felt the cool cement floor through his socks. “Mom?” He called into the darkness of the far corner. “Mom, are you ok? Have they done something to you?”
Mikel slid his feet along the floor and put his arms out in front as he felt his way through old boxes and stacked patio furniture. “Mom!?” He called again but only heard the dripping of the pipes in the distance. Mikel turned the corner on a stack of boxes and there she stood. “Mom! What are you doing, it’s so dark.” He grabbed his cell from his pocket and turned the LED light on.
Before him his mother stood, sleep deprived with dark sagging circles under her eyes. Behind her was a ladder. Mikel noticed a battery-operated drill resting on one of the steps. He looked up, realizing the ladder stood just below his room. “Mom.” He plead with a tearful outburst that had been pent up for weeks. Weeks of listening to that drill pierce holes through his walls, weeks of pleading for answers to why they were watching him. “Stop. Please stop watching me.” he let out through tearful sobs that he refused to hold back anymore.
His mother reached out and grabbed Mikel’s shoulder, it had been too long since he’d felt an embrace. “Mikel,” she began with a heave that highlighted her own exhaustion, “I’m putting new wires in your room, the old ones seem to be defective.”
Mikel cried out a scream that rattled his lungs. “Liar!” He sobbed, “You liar…” He fell to the floor and listened to the footsteps of his father and brother as they squeaked down the old wooden stairs.